Certified Emergency
Medicine Specialists

PO Box 72011
Cleveland, OH 44192-0002
Phone: 616-363-7867 or Toll Free: 877-363-7862


When you get emergency care or get treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing!

What is “balance billing” (sometimes called “surprise billing”)?

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, such as copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible. You may have other costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network.

“Out-of-network” describes providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan. Out-of-network providers may be permitted to bill you for the difference between what your plan agreed to pay and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your annual out-of-pocket limit.

“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care – like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider.

You are protected from balance billing for:

Emergency Services: If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from a out-of-network provider or facility, the most the provider or facility may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments and coinsurance). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balance billed for these post-stabilization services.

If you get other services at in-network facilities, out of network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections.

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get care out of network. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.

When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have the following protections:

  • You are only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that you would pay if the provider or facility was in network). Your health plan will pay out of network providers and facilities directly.
  • Your health plan generally must:
    • cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for serves in advance (prior authorization).
    • cover emergency services by out of network providers.
    • base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits.
    • count any amount you pay for emergency services or out of network services toward your deductible and out of pocket limit.

If you believe you’ve been wrongly billed, you may contact Michigan DIFS (Department of Insurance and Financial Services) at (877) 999-6442 or visit ‘Michigan.gov/difs/’ for more information about your rights under Michigan law.  Or you may contact the federal government helpline at (800) 985-3059 or visit ‘CMS.gov/nosurprises/consumers’ for additional information and resources about your rights under federal law.